Shadow Boxing

Shadows

They chase

race

attached to our feet

Seldom out of sight

Except at night

When their darkness usurps

all light

And they become huge

Filling the room

They are unstoppable

I once spoke to a man

who lived every day with

the spectre of the barrel of a gun

shoved into his mouth

as a child by his mother

Could taste the metal on his teeth

at odd times

and sweat

There were other things there too

that lurked just out of view

His shadows came to find him

in the dark

to grow large

chased back by whisky drunk 

The genie in the bottle

Released 

to mottle

throttle

muffle

contain

the shadows

and chase them back

for awhile

But they were attached to his feet

With stitches neat and strong

all the wrongs

that he couldn’t let go of

Inevitably he would succumb in sleep

become

The boxer that leaps

dancing around the ring

shadow boxing

moving his feet

throwing punches

at nothing

We all have shadows

things that live in our past

Bruises that bloom deep and dark

unseen and hidden

under the skin

attached to our feet

they walk around like they own the place

own us

when they are meaningless things

less than dust

a shadow following

swallowing the light at our side

trailing behind

hiding from the sun

Chase them

You’ll never catch them

It is better to stand

square

and

look

them

in their blank nothing faces

Tell them in their useless brainless spaces

I

see

you

and

you

are

nothing

 Even a chair casts a shadow
I’ve been ruminating on shadows all week.  

Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw a video of a little girl who is quietly munching on an ice cream when she discovers her shadow for the first time and then becomes truly terrified of it – and you can see why as it seemingly chases and follows her as she runs frantically trying to escape.

Shadows, the past, memories – all “nothing” things that can assume great importance depending on how we think about them – how much weight we lend them. 

How do we escape shadows?

It is seemingly impossible.

As I watched that little girl leap and run and cry trying to get away from hers, I thought of Peter Pan tackling down his escaped shadow and sewing it back on to his feet.

I’m not sure I would chase mine. 

I’m just not sure I would bother.  

But I am lucky – for I have a choice.


 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Shadow Boxing

  1. “I see you and you are nothing.” Very powerful. That moment when you realize that you want to break the chains that the past has over you, and you decide to take charge of your own life. It’s a pivotal moment in one’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

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